“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.”
Does life have you running a little low on hope? You know, like the car computer system warning you that you only have 20 more miles to go before running out of gas. Fear and anxiety will do that to you before you know it. It seems like you just filled up, and ding, all of life tells you a different story. The Psalmist knew it to be true and he offers himself encouragement in the Lord. I always said this would save us a lot of dollars if we would just counsel ourselves the same way. “Self, why are you cast down? O my soul, why are you in turmoil within me? Self, put your hope in God. Self, praise Him, your salvation and your God.”
I have walked past the little pile of carefully placed painted rocks many times, but yesterday I felt the nudge to pause. Much of life is on pause right now and it just doesn’t matter if you take a few extra seconds to stop and see. As I bent down to observe the childlike project, there it lay in the middle. I found a little splash of HOPE waiting to be grasped. I was tempted to pick it up, but instead snapped a quick photo as a reminder of my surprise. I remember when the kindness project took off a few years ago. Many were encouraged to paint rocks and leave them scattered throughout the community for someone to find a little burst of happy at the most unusual times and places.
Who doesn’t need a little surprise of HOPE these days?
I smiled and continued to walk declaring to the LORD, “You are my Hope, Lord. All of my life, strength and hope are in You. I will not fear, I will trust in you.” As I spoke it, my faith and joy climbed. I broke out singing and sped my stride a bit.
In this season of forced pause, my eyes are much more in tune with all of creation. The birds are singing new songs and the flowers are brighter colors. But then again, perhaps I am the one that is changing. The busy has halted and I am daily watching spring unfold. I’m more in tune to the Spirit’s nudges and He’s revealing new understanding.
I made my turn across the backside of the parking lot and smiled as I heard the bird singing. I just kept on walking and he seemed to sing louder and louder to get my attention. I laughed as I felt the nudge once again to pause and see. I turned back and found the bird on the top of a pile of trash.
Right there on top of a mess; a pile of rubbish, he sang.
He sang to me.
“Sing. Worship on top of the mess. Don’t wait for it to go away. Sing a new song right there in the middle of the mess. Right there on top of the rising numbers and not so good reports. Sing My praises. Sing hope to this fearful world.”
Pause. Another burst of Hope.
Ok, on with the walk. This is taking longer than usual. Speed it up. Get your heart rate up. My Sketchers screeched to a halt as I took notice of the full bloom dogwood standing like a billboard, announcing hope.
HOPE has come. It has a name. Jesus.
Jesus died for your sins. He arose from the grave. He resurrects all that is dead and breathes life into it. Put your hope in Him.
Pause. Another Burst of Hope!
As I touched one of the petals I was brought to tears as I saw the blood stains on the edges of each side. All of creation points back to Him. The Creator of all things has my full attention and in the pause, I am filled with hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
My normal path of walking would turn at this point and head back around the church building, but another burst of Hope drew me forward. There it was in the front lawn, the three Easter Crosses.
I had driven past it several times, admiring the purple cloth waving in the wind, but today I paused.
Remember the Cross. Full of Hope.
Jesus doesn’t just bring us hope. He is Hope.
He is not hidden in a pile of rocks.
He is not in a tree. He is not on a cross. He is not in a grave.
He is risen and He is alive, seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us right now.
Lift up your head. Don’t be downcast. Put your hope in God!
“Christ in you, the Hope of Glory.” Col. 1:27